Valedictory message from Wg Cdr Daz Rawlins

Another page turned in the history of XXIV Squadron at the end of March this year as the old and new OC’s said their goodbyes and hellos. Here is the valedictory message from Daz Rawlins to Association Members.

OC XXIV with Centenary Cup

OC XXIV with Centenary Cup

 

Dear XXIV Sqn Association.

Well, it is time to say farewell to all of you and so I thought I would send a note to you all and thank you personally for the overwhelming support the XXIV Squadron Association has given to me during my time as Officer Commanding. I handed over the Squadron to Wg Cdr Gareth Burdett on Thu 30 March 2017 during an afternoon event which started with a Squadron photograph outside an A400M aircraft and finished in Witney for some late drinks. There are so many memories I will take away with me. I still very much remember my first day in Command on the 22 January 2015. Since then, the Squadron has grown, evolved and remained at the forefront of some of the most notable successes at RAF Brize Norton. Over the past 2 years there is much to be proud of.
XXIV Squadron has received more Honours and Awards than any other squadron at RAF Brize Norton and received a healthy quota of promotions, most notably for the SNCO cohort. The Squadron has been at the centre of some major Defence Engagement initiatives; witness delivery of a C130J tactical capability to Royal Air Force Oman and ongoing discussions with the Royal Bahraini Air Force to deliver initial C130J training to them.

We have hosted everyone from the Defence Secretary to CAS to key members of the RAF Senior Leadership team and how could I forget the Arch Bishop of Canterbury! We have strengthened relationships with 16 Air Assault Brigade and Scott Air Force base in the US via our A400M capability. We have accelerated A400M Force Generation despite some programme challenges. We have been innovative in our approach and thinking and re-designed the C130J OCU Cse and the Atlas OCU Cse driving forward with training efficiencies at every opportunity. We won the best team award during the 2016 BRAVO’s – awarded to Maintainer Training Section (MTS). We ‘cleaned up’ at RIAT in 2015 with the top 2 awards – The prestigious ‘Spirit of The Meet’ awarded by CAS and the Concourse D’Elegance for the static display.

We have articulated a strategy for the future which shows the true benefit of training delivery under the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit – there are 3 key areas. The first is to provide further support to International Defence Training a vital Defence Task which underpins many of the bi-lateral relationships we have with other air forces – XXIV Squadron is leading with this work for the Air Mobility Force. The second is to develop our thinking regarding collective training. Consider networked simulation where our simulators are able to speak to Land and Maritime elements, able to connect internationally and able to speak to each other – for example C130J and Atlas simulated inter-fly.

Finally – the Squadron will continue to strengthen the case for a C17 Through-Life-Training Solution. One day we hope to be able to fully support 99 Squadron further develop a tactical capability for the C17 – after all – delivering safe, efficient and specialist training is what we do best.

Defence Engagement has been a major part of the Squadron which I will always remember. The Association has done a wonderful job in maintaining the very strong links with the town of Ligny-Thilloy; I will always remember the Atlas flypast of the Hawker 100 ceremony! Equally, the ties we have with 187 Folgore are special to me and Gareth is hoping to visit Ligny-Thilloy and Pisa later on this year. The re-dedication ceremony at St Clement’s Dane RAF Church where we unveiled the new Squadron floor plaque was a first for the Service. Finally – who can forget the Squadron Centenary? To have command of a Squadron during such a special time has been a privilege. To sit next to HRH the Princess Royal for an entire dinner – unforgettable!

So, XXIV Squadron is now in the safe hands of Wg Cdr Gareth Burdett and the best team of Flt Cdrs and Section Leaders I have ever worked with in 26 years of Service. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the seat and my application for membership of the Association will be coming your way very soon. I wish each and every one of you the very best and hope to see you all in the near future.

In Omnia Parati.

Daz Rawlins

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